Review: “All for You” by Andrew Grey

TITLE: All for You
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 11, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

The only path to happiness is freedom: the freedom to live-and love-as the heart wants. Claiming that freedom will take all the courage one young man has… but he won’t have to face it alone.
In small, conservative Sierra Pines, California, Reverend Gabriel is the law. His son, Willy, follows his dictates… until he meets a man in Sacramento, and then reunites with him in his hometown-right under his father’s nose.
Reggie is Sierra Pines’s newly appointed sheriff. His dedication to the job means not flaunting his sexuality, but when he sees Willy again, he can’t escape the feeling that they’re meant to be together. He’ll keep Willy’s secret until Willy is ready to let the world see who he really is. But if going up against the church and the townspeople isn’t enough, the perils of the work Reggie loves so much might mean the end of their romance before it even gets off the ground….


I loved All for You by Andrew Grey. It reminded me of the Carlisle Cops and Carlisle Deputies series which I love to read. It was well written with a great storyline and wonderful vibrant characters and supporting characters. The pace of the book was steady, but it kept my attention and had me reading well into the night to find out what happened in the end. I couldn’t get enough of it. It had all of the elements to it that I have come to expect from an Andrew Grey book. I laughed, I cried, I screamed at some of the people, and I loved the chemistry between Reggie and Willy.

I loved Reggie. He’s Sierra Pines’ newest appointed sheriff, and his dedication to his job means not flaunting his sexuality, but that doesn’t mean that he will deny his sexuality if questioned. He’s been appointed as sheriff to clean up the corruption in the small town, but first, he has to wrestle control of the town away from Reverend Gabriel, which could lead to a huge power struggle if Reggie doesn’t do it just right. I loved how he was able to use the rules of Reverend Gabriel’s faith to get his way instead of using threats like the Reverend Gabriel does. I also loved that he wasn’t intimidated by the mayor or the board or anybody else in a position of power. And I loved how he cleaned up the corruption in his own department, all while having a closeted relationship with the Reverend’s son, Willy.

I loved Willy. He’s young and a little inexperienced. He got a taste of freedom when he went away to college, but all of that went away when he returned home. He may be over twenty, but he still lives at home under the rule of his father. A father that used to be fun-loving and a joy to be around, but an accident in the family resulting in the death of a sibling changes the Reverend into a cold, unfeeling control freak with a short temper. Somebody that the whole family is afraid of. I loved when Willy and Reggie meet for the first time in Sacramento and Reggie saves Willy from some bullies and doesn’t take advantage of him when Willy offers to hook up with him. I loved that he was a gentleman even if he was kicking himself later. I loved watching Willy gain confidence and become a strong individual from being around Reggie. I also loved the ending of the book and that everybody gets their HEA.

Overall, another great book by Andrew Grey that I would recommend to everybody.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Broken Halo” by Michaela Grey

TITLE: Broken Halo
AUTHOR: Michaela Grey
SERIES: Mended Hearts
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: AngstyG
GENRE: BDSM; Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 236 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 30, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Micah Ellis is an affluent businessman, comfortable in his life and work, as long as nothing happens to shake up his routine. Which is exactly what one Devon Mallory does, with his bright blue eyes and dirty skin and the forceful personality that’s everything Micah desperately needs but is too afraid to ask for.
Micah and Devon enter into a Dom/sub relationship and navigate the world of BDSM and Micah’s crippling insecurities as they gradually fall in love. But Micah’s past is coming back to haunt him, and they must face it together–and that means learning acceptance and discovering that they both deserve love their way and on their own merits.


Broken Halo is the first book in the Mended Hearts series by Michaela Grey. I read the second book, Broken Rules, first. The books are standalone, so you can read them in any order. I liked Broken Rules enough that I wanted to read the first book in the series and I am so glad that I did. I loved the book. I loved that the Dom isn’t a part of the lifestyle but finds himself dating a submissive that is part of the lifestyle and can’t give it up. Instead of it being a deal breaker, he does his research and talks to the submissive’s ex, who is a Dommie, when he needs things clarified, or he wants to talk through a scene. Devon is a natural Dom, but he tries not to be hesitant during his scenes, and I loved how he took care of Micah, the sub, afterward during sub drop and vice versa when Devon has his first Dom drop. The chemistry between Micah and Devon was hot whether they were doing a scene or not.

Micah Ellis is a businessman, who’s comfortable in his life and work, but only as long as nothing happens to shake up his routine. He definitely has lots of issues. He’s a germaphobe. As a result, he doesn’t like dirt, grime, germs, crowds of people, and especially kids. And this leads to anxiety attacks and a caustic stuck-up attitude. So when his car breaks down outside an unfamiliar mechanic’s shop, he isn’t thrilled especially when he sees how dirty and grimy it is. It doesn’t even matter that the mechanic is a gorgeous hunk of a man since he’s covered in grease. In typical Micah fashion, he manages to offend Devon, the mechanic, enough that he refuses to let him pay for the repairs and tells him to leave. But Fate brings them back together, and Micah gets the chance to apologize. They end up starting a relationship which turns into a Dom/sub relationship after Micah confesses to his desires.

Devon is a mechanic that owns a shop. He doesn’t like Micah at first since Micah puts him down for being a blue-collar worker since he’s a white-collar worker and thinks that he’s better than him and Devon kicks him out of his shop without paying for the work that was done. I liked that they get the chance to apologize to each other and give each other another chance. I also loved that Devon is a sweet guy and works really hard to give Micah what he needs in their relationship even though he doesn’t know a lot about it.

I especially loved that this is a book where both the Dom and the sub end up using their safewords. I read a lot of BDSM books and in most of them during a scene, there’s the reminder to use their safewords, but they rarely use them. So I really enjoyed those parts of the book. Yes at one point there is heartache, but the book does end in a happily ever after and I was so happy that Micah’s abusive ex gets what’s coming to him at the end because he was a douchebag.

I can’t wait to read more books by this author. I might have to give her Coffee Cake series a go. It sounds promising.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Ascendent” by Tal Bauer

TITLE: Ascendent
AUTHOR: Tal Bauer
SERIES: Executive Power
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: Ron Perry
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 276 pages
RELEASE DATE: Aug 23, 2018
PRICE: $5.99 -e-book

BLURB:

Sasha Andreyev grew up on the wrong side of nowhere, dreaming of starlight as he strangled a secret. He fled, enlisting in the Russian Army, and worked his way up the ranks. Years later, after surviving a beating and being left for dead, he found a new life in Moscow, working with President Sergey Puchkov.
And then, he fell in love.
Desperate to avoid his runaway heart, crippled with a shame that infected his soul, and ravaged by demons haunting his memories, Sasha ran.
But he could never escape Sergey, or the gravitational pull of their love.
Nightmares trail behind his every step and weary ghosts live in the hollow chambers of his soul. He’s spent a lifetime brutally eviscerating the parts of himself he despises, and he’s an empty, shattered shell, struggling to be the man worthy of Sergey’s love.
The pieces of his soul he cut out are the very ones he needs in order to become the man he yearns to be. He’ll need to face himself, and his past, on a journey into the frozen heart of Russia, and into the midnight depths of the dead lands.
Only then can he ascend from the darkness, and be the man Sergey needs at his side.


Ever since I read the blurb of Enemies of State, I knew I had to get my hands on that book. That happened when all three books of the series were out. I knew it would be a good read, but I didn’t know that would discover an amazing author … Tal Bauer.

He has a talent for playing with words, words that you’re connected with and become part of you, installing their meaning deep inside the reader. I fell in love with Ethan from the very beginning. Their story captured thousands and thousands of readers, of whom I wasn’t an exception either.

Reading the series, I first met Sergey, the strong Russian President, who plays games with Jack but later they become close friends. And then Sasha appears and my attention switches from JATHAN (Jack/Ethan) to Sergey and Sasha. They become my favorite couple. I could relate to both of them, maybe because I, myself, grew up under a communist regime, and I knew exactly the deep meaning of their every thought. Honestly, until and unless you had the same experience with a dictatorial government, it’s really hard to identify with some of the things thees two marvelous characters go through.

And now finally I get to read their story. I was anxious at the end of Enemy Within because I didn’t get my fair share of Sasha and Sergey. Later on, I learned that Tal planned to release a book dedicated only to my favorite guys.

Ascendant is very Russian-like literature. If you had the opportunity to read Tolstoy, it would compare on some level with the feeling that this book gives away. The shadow of communism, the always-lacking, the carved out path of the future, to not having the option of choice, it all comes back in the book. The brooding Russian-love, the self-doubt, the not-good-enough.

Sasha suffers. His self-hatred of being gay and his love for Sergey are slowly killing him. The Arctic chill of Siberia freezes his insides and the only source of heat seems to be his sun, Sergey. But that’s not enough. He knows that for him to truly be able to love Sergey, he must find the part of his soul that he buried deep under the ice of Siberia.

Sergey is happy to have Sasha at his side, even though he knows that Sasha must leave again to be trained by NASA and become the future of the Russian space program, the only astronaut. Thier love must remain hidden because the future of Russia depends on it.

This book will make you love Russia. I always had a strange attraction to Russia. The hugeness of her history, culture, and art is ever-present in European culture. We learned it in school, and we talk in private gatherings. Ascendant also touches the Meta of the life. I’m not shocked that Tal talks about it in his book. Russian scientist are very much open for meta-science being that biology or physics. Also, they have a large amount of alternative healers who use bio-energy for curing. I witnessed many causes where these alternative bio-energetic treatment have a positive effect.

The journey of Sasha to find his lost self is amazingly written. Thanks to Tal’s genius-ness, you can really get a real feel of the multi-cultural, multi-ethnicity of Russia, and Tal’s utopian vision—that I deeply share—will put a smile on your face.

 

Spasibo, moy dorogoy Tal’!

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Raising the Bar” by Leigh Dillon

TITLE: Raising the Bar
AUTHOR: Leigh Dillon
SERIES: States of Love
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Brooke Albrecht
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 91 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 7, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book

BLURB:

Destin Bellingham has inherited a problem. Thanks to his late playboy father, Destin faces putting a For Sale sign on his family’s historic horse farm. Getting his talented stallion, Black Sambuca, into the Grand Prix show ring would put Bellmeade back on the map—if only someone could make “Sam” behave like a show horse.
Disgraced top rider Tonio Benedetto has his own problems, but he can work magic with difficult jumpers, so Destin hires him despite his bad-boy reputation. The street-smart, openly gay loudmouth from Miami and the closeted, buttoned-down son of Old Dominion Virginia make a rocky pairing, but time is running out to save Bellmeade from bankruptcy.
Opposites attract, sparks of tension grow into flames of passion. But if Tonio fails to tame Sam, will true love become a lost cause too?
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.


Raising the Bar by Leigh Dillon is part of Dreamspinner’s States of Love series. This book takes place in Virginia. I liked the storyline and the flow of the book. The book is only ninety-one pages long, so it’s a nice quick read, perfect for relaxing when you only have a couple of hours. Definitely recommended for people who enjoy opposites-attract storyline and problem show jumper horses. I happen to like both of those characteristics in a story, and I did enjoy reading this book. My only disappointment in the story is that I wish the author had stated what kind of horse Black Sambuca is. I would have liked to have known if he was a pure breed horse or a cross. Although since they’re planning to breed him, I would assume that he was a pureblood. But the author doesn’t mention what kind of horses the Bellingham’s were breeding. It would have helped with my visualization of what the horses on the farm looked like.

I liked Destin Bellingham. He’s inherited the family farm when his playboy father dies suddenly. Moving back from Boston, Destin finds that the family farm is about to go bankrupt. Destin may have grown up on the farm, but he’s out of his element trying to keep Bellmeade afloat. His only hope of putting Bellmeade back on the map, getting back their sponsors and saving the farm is his incredibly talented stallion, Black Sambuca. However, he first has to find somebody crazy enough to ride the powerful horse. I would have liked Destin more if he’d been a little more confident in his abilities. He grew up on this farm, but he acts like he has no idea how to run it or what needs to be done to keep it afloat. Tonio even mentions a lot of things that can be done to help keep them afloat while getting Sam where he needs to be in his jumping career but Destin isn’t willing to do any of them.

I really liked Tonio Benedetto. He’s on the smaller side with a wiry build, but he has a lot of personality. He also has an alcohol problem which he’s dealing with. For Tonio, alcohol makes him belligerent and for Destin, it’s almost a deal breaker after he takes Tonio to dinner on the first night that Tonio comes to evaluate Black Sambuca. But I liked how Tonio realizes that he messed up and promises that it won’t happen again. I also liked that Tonio isn’t willing to give up on Black Sambuca. I also liked the chemistry between Tonio and Destin. He compliments Destin in areas where he lacks experience.

Overall Raising the Bar is a cute, fun, short novella about a show jumper rider and a show jumper breeder and owner and a black stallion that is too smart for his own good.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Bad Influence” by K.A. Mitchell

TITLE: Bad Influence
AUTHOR: K.A. Mitchell
SERIES: Bad in Baltimore
PUBLISHER: DSP Publication
COVER ARTIST: Kanaxa
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 260 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 12, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 -paperback

BLURB:

To remake their future, they’ll have to use pieces of their broken past.
The young man the world knew as Jordan Barnett is dead, killed as much by the rejection of his first love at his moment of greatest need, as by his ultra-conservative parents’ effort to deprogram the gay away.
In his place is Silver, a streetwise survivor who’s spent the last three years learning to become untouchable…unless you’re willing to pay for the privilege. He shies away from anything that might hold him down long enough for betrayal to find him again.
Zebediah Harris spent time overseas, trying to outrun the guilt of turning his back on the young man he loved. Now, almost the moment he sets foot back in Baltimore, he discovers Silver on a street corner in a bad part of town. His effort to make amends lands them both in jail.
Trapped together in a cell, Silver sits on his mountain of secrets and plans a seductive form of revenge, but finds that using a heart as a stepping stone is no way to move past the one man he can’t forgive, let alone forget.
Warning: Contains a surly hero. May cause angst. A prolonged delay in sexual situations may cause frustration. Author recommends a steady dose of familiar friends and characters to alleviate those symptoms. No actual teenagers were used during the construction of the backstory.


I have just loved this series, and this was no disappointment. Mitchell has really tugged at the heartstrings this time. I loved how she deals with real-life situations that occur, but people like to pretend they don’t. Homophobia is real, HIV is real, Teen homelessness is real, and teen sex is very real. I know some people have issues with teen sex, but it was a 17-year-old. I was that age myself, and I was into older men myself. It was only a 5-year gap. That isn’t nothing. So, if these issues bother you, this is not the book for you.

Jordan, aka Silver, was brought up by a horrible family that sent him to a camp to take the gay out of him. Such a ridiculous notion. He was caught having an affair with his teacher. They really cared for each other. But it all came to a halt when his family sent him away. So he ran away and became a homeless teenager that sold himself to survive. Then one night at the club, he sees this teacher again and freaks out.

Zeb, aka teacher, sees Jordan in the dance club and follows him out when he ran out. There’s a confrontation and the homophobic cops show up and arrest them both. Zeb struggles with why Jordan treats him so badly. It’s like Zeb is to blame for everything that’s happened to him. When the truth is, he lied to Zeb about his age all those years earlier.

I really love how the characters from previous books come together to help Silver cope with everything going on including his HIV diagnosis. This book deals with a lot of issues but is wrapped up in a pretty red bow. Blood family isn’t always best for people. The family we hand-pick and surround ourselves with can be more of a family than the one we were born into. HIV isn’t like it used to be. I love how his friends support him and don’t treat it like a death sentence. It’s not a death sentence anymore. There’s good medicine to keep it bay, and you can live your life as anyone else. Safe sex should be an everyday practice, so why do people have to act horribly.

Zeb and Silver go through a lot, but their love is there and will get them through some of the roughest life choices. This book proves to me that no matter the situation, no matter the terrible family dynamics and no matter your past, life can be good. You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

***The ARC was provided by DSP Publication . My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis